If I’m not divorced but am physically separated from my wife, canI date?

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If I’m not divorced but am physically separated from my wife, canI date?

The uncontested divorce has not yet been filed yet. We’ve been separated since 09/10. She sleeps in the house and I sleep in the RV. Can I legally have someone visit with me in the RV even though the divorce is not done? The wife leaves the country for good in December.

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Family Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you can of course "date" any time you like--even while "happily married" (not divorced). There is no law that stops you. And if  divorce remains uncontested, it should not matter. However, if the divorce turns contested, then the fact that you were "dating" while still married (even if separated) will be information considered during the divorce proceedings and could influence them against you. This is especially so when you've "only" been separated for not yet two months; also bear in mind that a phsyical separation is not a legal separation and has no effect on your marital status, obligations, etc.--in ALL legal ways, you are simply married as before  (and, if it turns out or can be somehow shown you were involved with that person prior to the separation, it will look worse yet). While you should check with a matrimonial lawyer, who can evaluate all the specifics of your situation in confidence and detail, to be sure, I strongly suggest that the advice would be to simply not date until the divorce is final and the wife is out of the country...from what you write, that's only another few months.


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